A randomised, controlled trial of circumpatellar electrocautery in total knee replacement without patellar resurfacing: a concise follow-up at a mean of 3.7 years

Bone Joint J. 2014 Apr;96-B(4):473-8. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.96B4.32118.


In the absence of patellar resurfacing, we have previously shown that the use of electrocautery around the margin of the patella improved the one-year clinical outcome of total knee replacement (TKR). In this prospective randomised study we compared the mean 3.7 year (1.1 to 4.2) clinical outcomes of 300 TKRs performed with and without electrocautery of the patellar rim: this is an update of a previous report. The overall prevalence of anterior knee pain was 32% (95% confidence intervals [CI] 26 to 39), and 26% (95% CI 18 to 35) in the intervention group compared with 38% (95% CI 29 to 48) in the control group (chi-squared test; p = 0.06). The overall prevalence of anterior knee pain remained unchanged between the one-year and 3.7 year follow-up (chi-squared test; p = 0.12). The mean total Western Ontario McMasters Universities Osteoarthritis Indices and the American Knee Society knee and function scores at 3.7 years' follow-up were similar in the intervention and control groups (repeated measures analysis of variance p = 0.43, p = 0.09 and p = 0.59, respectively). There were no complications. A total of ten patients (intervention group three, control group seven) required secondary patellar resurfacing after the first year. Our study suggests that the improved clinical outcome with electrocautery denervation compared with no electrocautery is not maintained at a mean of 3.7 years' follow-up.

Keywords: Anterior knee pain; Electrocautery; Patella; Patient-reported outcome measures; Randomised controlled trial; Total knee replacement.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / methods*
  • Denervation / methods
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electrocoagulation / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Knee Prosthesis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control
  • Patella / innervation
  • Patella / surgery*
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Reoperation / methods
  • Treatment Outcome